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  1. #1
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    Default Info on the Centennial trail in SD

    I am taking my annual late spring hike in 10-12 days. I have an itch to do something completely different (I typically hike in the SE USA) and am looking at the CT in SD. i have ordered the maps and did a search here. The latest info I found here was approx. 4 years old. My questions are the usual... is late May/early June a good time for this hike? Any ideas on what the typical weather is like in SD at that time? Beyond what I can get on Google searches? Mosquitoes/black flies a major issue at this time? Any other nuggets of wisdom would be appreciated, including shuttle fom north end back to my vehicle on the south nd. Thanks in advance for any help.

  2. #2

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    I ran the Deadwood marathon on the Centennial trail once. It's a wide industrial trail suitable for heavy bike travel. There are good campsites and bathrooms. Generally it parallels major paved roads. Not a wilderness experience, but it is a high quality trail through pretty country.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockDoc View Post
    I ran the Deadwood marathon on the Centennial trail once. It's a wide industrial trail suitable for heavy bike travel. There are good campsites and bathrooms. Generally it parallels major paved roads. Not a wilderness experience, but it is a high quality trail through pretty country.
    i appreciate the feedback. it has a different look and feel from what I can tell from my usual hiking spots but that is the attraction. Still weighing my options. water availability is a major decision factor. I am not going to do a hike in June where I have to worry about water and.or carry more than 2L.

  4. #4
    Registered User lonehiker's Avatar
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    As far as shuttles go, Roam'n Around 605-653-2992 has been my go-to shuttle service over the past couple of years. Rabbit Bicycles will also shuttle and I've had good results with them as well. I haven't heard really recent reports but there is a chance that you could have a long water carry north of Dalton Lake. Go to "Hiking Centennial Trail" facebook page and see if anyone has posted a recent water report for Elk Creek. If that and Bulldog Gulch are dry, you would have a 24 mile water carry. If the 5th crossing, going north, is reported to be dry ask if anyone has checked upstream as often there are a couple of pools that linger a bit. One other possibility for water in that section is to go ~0.5 miles off-trail to Wonderland Cave where you could buy a few bottles of water (they have no running water). PM me and I will send you a .gpx file for that alt if you are interested. I've done this hike in late May 10-11 times and think it is probably the best time (I know this post is a bit late) to hike this trail. As you start to get into June you will get into tick season. Poison Ivy can start to become thick as well. The next best time to hike this is in the fall. But almost for sure Elk Creek will be dry so a long water carry north of Dalton lake.
    Lonehiker (MRT '22)

  5. #5
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    A brief trip report (both the trip and the report were/are brief) - on day 1, my water filter clogged at my first water stop (about 6 miles in). I could not free it up even with backflushing so I hiked back to the truck where I had a backup. Camped there. On day 2, my right foot started hurting so I camped just 9 miles or so into the hike. Day 3 I hobbled back to the truck and started driving home (it was an 18+ hour drive that I broke up into 2 days). With current gas prices I told my wife that this trip was about as expensive as my thru hike in 2010. ) Turns out I have tendinitis caused by a bone spur on my heel so my foot is in a walking boot.

    On day one I had a two hour wait to let a solitary (huge) bull buffalo graze on past a trail junction where three trails split. I needed to see the sign to see which trail I needed to take. On day 3 I had to tiptoe past a bedded bull buffalo in a narrow wooded canyon. Although I was more than the recommended 25 yards distance it was still closer than I would have preferred but there was no way to detour around, especially with the pain in my foot. These are things I have never encountered before while hiking.

    I fully expect to go back and complete this trail as the scenery is incredible, especially for one who hikes primarily in the southeast. I also encountered mule deer and antelope on my brief journey.Hopefully that trip report will be more enlightening although I never expect to meet the standards set forth by Tipi Walter in his epic reports.

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